Salmonella typhimurium DT104 infections of captive elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) calves resulted in mortality in eight of 13 affected calves. Salmonellosis in these elk calves was characterized by diarrhea, fever, lethargy, inappetence and depression, and death usually ensued within 72 hr of initial clinical signs. Affected calves did not respond to antibiotic and fluid therapy. The source of the bacteria likely was one or more of the calves when they were captured in the wild at less than 5 days of age. In our captive holding facility, the disease spread quickly and was difficult to control. Phage typing, pulsed field gel electrophoresis, antibiotic sensitivity testing, and plasmid profiles determined that this Salmonella sp. strain was the epidemic strain common to cattle, sheep and humans.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2